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Making Historic Achievements in Education

Updated: Nov 11, 2019

Senator Gerald Neal - Kentucky Senate District 33

I, along with many, witnessed a HISTORIC series of events this week in our community. With the groundbreaking of the Urban League’s Sports and Learning Center, swearing in of Joe Marshall to the Jefferson County Public School (JCPS) board, and the announcement of a new academy for girls of color, Louisville is making major strides. These significant developments symbolize the important ingredient of HOPE and portends well for the future.

First, great news for West Louisville and the entire community, as yesterday was the official groundbreaking of the Urban League’s Sports & Learning Center. More exciting news came during the ceremony when a member of the audience pledged $290,000 on the spot to be put towards the project. The state of the art complex is on track to be finished by 2020 and will include a learning lab, indoor track, and bowling alley.

The Urban League’s Sports and Learning Center is a major win for our community in a variety of ways. The project will provide much needed economic development, creating a new market for jobs and business opportunities in the area. It will also serve as an education hub for our young people to continue their educational aspirations outside the classroom. I see this as a much needed and worthy investment.

Another historic achievement was made with the unanimous appointment and swearing in of Joe Marshall to the Jefferson County Public School Board. The designation makes it the first time that three African Americans will jointly serve on the board. His experience includes teaching in JCPS for five years, then continuing his work at the private non-profit West End School.

The board should be reflective of the community it represents. The appointment of Joe Marshall is of great significance to the progress we have made in prioritizing education for ALL students in Louisville. I wish the best for Board Member Marshall in his new role!

Next, following the swearing in of Joe Marshall, members of the JCPS school board voted unanimously on a motion to create a totally supportive school, approving a science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM) academy for girls of color. The newly announced school will support women of color that face disproportionate education inequities. It will emphasize academic success, cultural heritage values, and development of leadership skills.

This is a FANTASTIC NEWS. The school will now be the first of its kind for girls and similar to what is being done with the successful DuBois Academy for boys of color at JCPS. Much like DuBois Academy, it also resides in the largest and most diverse district in the state. The girls' school will open at the start of the 2020-21 school year with a class of 150 sixth-graders. Further plans include a full middle school, serving grades six through eight, over the following two school years.

Major moves are being made in Louisville, and more specifically, West Louisville, and it is something to be proud of. We are making investments in our future, and I am hopeful for what is to come. As the Kentucky State Senator for the 33rd District, I will continue my work to expand opportunities for the community. I am greatly inspired and encouraged.

What do you think?

I would like to hear from you. For comments, questions, or concerns please do not hesitate to contact me by email at Gerald.Neal@LRC.KY.GOV or by phone on the legislative message line toll-free at 1-800-372-7181.

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